face od a sunflower image by Francois du Plessis from Fotolia.com

Sometimes outpatient therapy and medication are not enough to help a person recover from a mental illness. When this happens, a person may need to enter a facility where their needs can be met more effectively. The type of facility depends on the level of care needed.

Levels of Mental Health Facilities

There are six levels of mental health care. They are listed from least restrictive, level 1, to most restrictive, level 6. Level 3 mental health facilities fall in the middle. Services are still provided on an outpatient basis, but on a more intensive level.

Intensive Outpatient Services

Intensive outpatient services are designed for people who do not yet need 24 hour care in a hospital setting. With the help of a team of nurses, counselors, doctors, and family, the individual works on a program designed to resolve immediate areas of concern. Short-term stabilization often occurs as a result.


Choosing a level 3 facility can mean choosing a less restrictive environment in which the individual can receive help while still maintaining independence.


The best place to seek help in finding a level 3, or intensive outpatient facility, is your local community service board. Your primary care physician can also help you in connecting with an intensive outpatient facility.


Most insurance companies will pay for intensive outpatient treatment because the overall cost is much lower than at an inpatient facility. They are not paying for a bed and meals. However, it is always best to check with your insurance carrier before starting services.